Let’s face it: divorce, and break-ups in general, are difficult to process and move on from.
For many reasons, separating from the person we love leaves us feeling lost and desperate for answers. Many times, we blame ourselves in hopes that if we take ownership of the breakup we can then fix whatever is broken, and then we will not have to suffer with this pain any longer.
This is a subconscious thought, and it isn’t until we are fully healed that we realize thinking that way is how we tried to protect ourselves from this incredible hurt.
The pain of loss can be so deep that it triggers other emotional issues inside us, ones that we thought we buried and would never see again. However, the truth is, sometimes breakups are the universe’s way of getting us to deal with our issues instead of filling voids and living the day-to-day as if these issues do not exist—which is called denial.
The universe is constantly pushing us to resolve issues and move forward; that is why you may find that you are continuously facing the same issue over and over but not understanding why. This is because you need to learn that lesson, the lesson you are being taught in that moment. Learn it, and move on.
Being divorced twice, and losing both husbands in a similar and pretty traumatic way, I realized the universe was sending me a message. It was the same message both times, and fortunately the second time I finally chose to listen. It was time for me to face my issues, work on myself, focus on what needed to change, and do the work to get me on the path to a new beginning. As my friends called it, my blank slate. I called it “stepping stones.”
Below are my simple yet critical tips of letting go and moving on after a traumatic divorce (or breakup):
1. Let yourself go through the stages of grief/loss.
A divorce or breakup of a significant relationship is quite similar to a death. In order to move forward, you must go through the stages of grief. The five stages are denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance, and they are a critical part of the framework that makes up our learning to live without the one we lost. They help us to gain the tools we need to help us identify what we may be feeling.
However, there is no exact timeline when it comes to the healing process, and you may bounce around from grief to anger and back to denial before you hit acceptance. Healing is not linear.
2. Accept that healing takes time.
As I stated, there is no timetable and healing is not linear. Just know that you are where you are meant to be, healing. The more difficult the relationship and breakup, the harder the hit is to your body, mind, and soul. You need to be compassionate with yourself and accept that it can take years to recover—and that is okay. Honor yourself and where you are at, at every moment.
3. Allow yourself time to heal—solo.
Fix yourself and heal first before bringing someone else into your world, otherwise you risk repeating the same patterns until you have learned the lesson you were meant to learn. The universe is speaking to you, so listen.
The only way over it is through it.
4. Do not fill voids by immediately trying to replace your ex.
Believe it or not, you are not ready for a new relationship. By jumping in to a new relationship, you are trying to fill a void to escape from hurt. That never works; it delays the healing process and puts other people at risk for heartbreak.
5. Allow yourself to feel anger, fear, and sorrow.
These feelings are normal and are part of the healing process. Feel every feeling until you are numb to it. Stuffing your feelings does not work; facing them head-on speeds up the healing process.
6. Fill your life with interests and activities.
Now is the time to try something new—new hobby, take a class, start an exercise routine, make new friends, and start some “Keystone Habits.” This creates a full and satisfying life.
Become a better version of yourself.
7. Make peace with your loss and try to forgive.
If you focus too much on the loss and don’t let go of the story, you will not get to acceptance and you will prolong the healing process. There is a lesson in all this; take the time to learn what it is.
8. Let go of the story.
Yes, it was traumatic. Yes, you are in pain. Yes, you miss him or her.
But if you do not let go of the story and make peace with what happened and why it happened, you will delay creating a new and better story, one that doesn’t involve a traumatic breakup. Learn the lesson and move forward.
9. Make time for yourself and figure out who you are as a person.
I imagine you have spent a majority of time focused on your relationship and your significant other. Now it is time to focus on yourself and figure out who you are and what makes you tick.
Fall in love with yourself.
10. If you want to find a happy, nurturing, compassionate relationship, look for those qualities inside yourself.
Do you have those same qualities you are looking for in another person? Remember, you are holding up your mirror, so be who you wish to meet. It’s that simple.
11. Spend time with yourself.
Whenever you can, find time to be alone with your thought and feelings, whether it be in a designated “self” zone or just any space where you can get some alone time. Do it; it is magical.
12. Don’t become bitter and don’t regret the relationship.
Just learn from it. Be a better person because of it. Take the positive, let go of the negative, and move forward so you can find the person who is right for you—because that person does exist.
13. Love again—without the fear of loss.
Don’t let this bad experience jade your feelings on love. In fact, I encourage you to love harder, stronger, and without fear. Be vulnerable, and, more than anything, trust yourself.
The truth is, once you change your mindset from the idea of this being a loss to discovering opportunity in the healing, the process will be much easier as you start the journey on your new path to a wonderful life.